I know you’ve heard about it. Yeah, Danny Snyder hired Mike Shanahan to restore the Redskins franchise to glory. As you may or may not know, I am a Skins fan that has suffered through the ineptitude that is Snyder’s ownership and pray for the day that maybe we can win nine games. Yes, as of right now, I feel that winning nine games could be seen as successful.
Shanahan has signed and will be announced as the head coach during a press conference in Ashburn at 2 pm today.
I’m exhausted. The only thing I can hear are the final murmurs of the short-lived Zorn era and the screams of other Redskins fans and the media about becoming the Super Bowl champs. The only champions Snyder has been able to produce are those of the offseason.
So where does the organization go from here? Shanahan has been known as a control freak, a personality that seems like it would clash with that of Snyder, but just as he did during Joe Gibbs second stint in DC, Snyder will most likely be taking a more hands-off approach. This is the first step in the supposed “return to glory” and it’s a big one. Shanahan also becomes executive vice president of football operations, the position formerly held by Vinny Cerrato.
In terms of personnel, Shanahan has a good opportunity to build the type of team he wants because of Snyder’s will to win games. Snyder should cede nearly all personnel decisions to Shanahan and new GM Bruce Allen is more of a salary cap guy so that should not be a problem.
Since the Redskins have often been known as the offseason champs by simply reloading every season, how will Shanahan reorganize the team? There are changes that need to be made and I do believe they will be swift. I expect the defense to stay largely intact (except for a change or two in the secondary), but in terms of the offense, nothing is a sure thing. Here are some of the major problems and the things I expect Shanahan to do:
1.Jason Campbell He has been on the hot seat since he was promoted to starter in 2006. Most people think he will be gone, I do not. Shanahan will recognize the major problems on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position and understand that Campbell really isn’t that bad of a quarterback. He’s not great, merely average statistically ranking between 13 and 16 in most major offensive categories. Drafting Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen would be far too risky.
2. Offensive Line This is what killed the team all year. Weak players protecting the quarterback was the major problem with the offense. There is NO WAY you can argue with me on that being the biggest problem in terms of personnel. Campbell was never given time and no running back could get through the gaps because the gaps didn’t even exist.
What I expect Shanahan to do: draft Russell Okung out of Oklahoma State. He was the best offensive lineman in the country this past season and I expect him to carry over his talent to the league. Why do you think Shanahan had so many running backs coming out of nowhere and rushing for well over 1,000 yards? He knew how to assemble a solid offensive line.
3. Chris Cooley or Fred Davis Chris Cooley is one of my favorite players in the league and it killed me to see him go down early in the season. He’s a pro-bowler that missed his first games of his career this season. But when he went down, we got a chance to see Fred Davis step up and he definitely impressed a lot of people. There’s no reason to keep two tight ends and switching them in and out would be too much of a hassle for the offense. Veteran Todd Yoder has also shown his worth at tight end and fullback in a backup role so honestly, I could see Cooley or Davis hitting the road this offseason. I’d say it’s more likely Davis draws the short straw and hopefully gets traded for a draft pick. That’s in an ideal world and considering Snyder’s history, I don’t know if it will happen.
4. Wide reciever I don’t know what it is with this franchise’s obsession with short receivers, but our number one and number two receivers can’t stand below six feet. I really don’t want to sound like an idiot, but Brandon Marshall (Shanny drafted) isn’t too happy out in Denver and maybe the team could push through another blockbuster with the Mile High franchise to nap him. Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas have shown flashes of brilliance but I don’t know how that holds up next season.
As for how the team will fare next year, I don’t know. I’m not going to go through the schedule and start marking off wins and losses because that would be ridiculous (although I’m sure many people have done it already). I want to see the changes to the organization and how Snyder will change. I’m excited to see the interaction between Shanahan and Allen because their job duties do not overlap. Shanahan is the control guy while Allen is the salary cap guy.